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David Kane

Summit 1-25-2020 Sailing – "Live" Blog, Cat Blog, Vlogs

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Summit 1/25/2020 Sailing – Live Blog, Cat Blog, Vlogs!

Good Evening.

After a year away from Celebrity, mostly involving a summer trip to Yellowstone to commemorate my mother’s 75th (!) birthday (complete with a room in the Historic Lodge with a Geyser-View – sadly, the 4 perks were not included – and the memorable theft/gift of a bar glass) we are once again ready to get back on Board and see what has changed. Lingering suspicions remain that this ‘Live’ Blog will quickly become a ‘Recap’ after day 3 as is usually the case, but until then, we’ll try to keep things tight.

I’d like to give a big thank you and shout out to Arno, ChicagoPaul, DRJKRetired, HCat, Bo1953, Jim_Lain, Patty Knapp, and all the other frequent Celebrity posters who provide far more accurate commentary than I ever will.

Note: This Blog is rated H for hu-mor. Curmudgeons are hereby advised.

Background

DW (who I will refer to by her initials XZ just to circumvent convention) and I are mid 30’s/early 40’s with no kids and one cat who hates it when we go cruising. We were big Disney Park fans until their pricing structure got WAY out of whack and made the spontaneous experience entirely unenjoyable and, for my 40th, we decided to give cruising a try.

Our first trip was in an RS on the Infinity for Halloween in 2015. We came right back for more, booking a RS on the Summit for 2016, an SS guarantee on the Reflection and another SS on the Summit, both in 2017. Starting 2018 we did an SS Aft on the Equinox, and SS on the Summit and, in 2019, an SS on the Equinox.

This time, we are back for yet another SS with yet *another* set of move-up bids which we suspect will amount to nothing. As near as we can tell, these bids are like job interviews – if you don’t hear back within the first few days, you aren’t getting it, despite Celebrity’s stated policy to tell you 2 days before sailing. (I will note that the whole thing feels kind of weird – waiting and hoping for the opportunity to pay someone more money. That said, the move up bids are *so much less* than the initial prices of the upper tier suites when we booked a year ago it makes such forlorn hopes worth it).

This Trip

We booked this vacation a year ago on the Equinox and continue to benefit from cruising on the least popular week of the entire year. For an added discount, we are sailing from Puerto Rico, and with the OBC offered this was perhaps the best rate we have ever received.

A note on PR; a few trips ago a snowstorm took out a good chunk of the Mid West on the day of our return flight and we got an extended vacation in the Old City (along with about 6,000 other people) for a few days. We really enjoyed our time there and can’t wait to spend a few pre-cruise days there this go around at El Convento. These will likely be briefly summarized as other people’s pre-cruise pictures are always the ‘scroll throughs’ for me; it’s not that I don’t find the Newark Radisson interesting…it’s just that I don’t.

 

Goals this go around include:

--The Edge-i-Fi-Cation, also known as ‘The Hoppening’ – since we were last on our favorite ship has been dry-docked and then wet-docked. We can’t wait to see and document the changes! From the Retreat Lounge to the…whatever they call the thing at the Front? The Sun Deck at the Retreat? The Retreat at the Lounge? to the un-themed Casino, to all the little differences in-between. We’ve heard of some pretty hilarious changes on these boards and, puns in hand, we are ready to experience them. After all, what’s the worst that could Hoppen?

  --Truffle-Shuffle: So this is an interesting one. Last time on the Summit the Shuffle Board equipment was basically two sticks without pushers and 3 disks, one of which may have been a drink coaster. Since we enjoying Shuffling so much XZ got me a professional, collapse-able, travel shuffleboard set (the pucks weigh like 20 lbs. in total and absolutely do not look like landmines…that should be fun to explain to airport security). The one question remains…did they tear up the playing surface? Or is it still there, abandoned and un-used. (If it’s gone, we’ve brought painter’s tape to mark out our own course – one way or another, there will be a Shuffle-Off!).

The Cat

Unfortunately to report, we have had a significant shift in cattitude. Our previous Cat Complainer vanished sometime last March, presumably and hopefully to live out the rest of her days as a free range mouser in a neighbor’s barn. We managed to make it an entire two weeks before one of us had 6 shots of Buffalo Trace at the local biker bar and then noticed we were passing by the town animal shelter on the drive home. We’re always had a fine tradition of adopting the unadoptable and it just so happened they had this chubby Tortoiseshell locked up for far too long.

So, for the first time, we exposed ‘Misty Knight’ to the worst reviews that CC (and another site) had to offer and, aside from still being somewhat bitey (gotta love that Tortitude), she is ready to take up the mantle as our new official ‘Cat Complainer.’ Each day we will review one “Cat Complaint” about Cruising and see, in person, if it’s valid. This little tradition of ours comes from our very first cruise, where, during a thoroughly enjoyable Q & A session with the Senior Officers on stage, a guest took a little bit of everyone’s time to complain to the Captain about how there wasn’t enough Diet Coke on board which isn’t even possible. This section is a far more politic way of noting my displeasure with other rude and entitled passengers than inviting them to get off the ship for a self-guided tour on sea days.

Social

Our vlog site is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTrwSLzNW8FzVVdyz3yC4w

 

XZ’s new, almost-ready personal blog site for cruising advice for Gen Xer’s is www.poshcruise.blog

 

We are also making an attempt to step into the vastness of Celebrity’s own social media sites, including Instaspam, Twiffer, and Facebag.

We draw inspiration for our begrudging social media efforts from:

 

Bill Raffel (Gooooood Morning!): https://www.youtube.com/user/billwi

 

Overy Joy’d (Isaac Matthews – Celebrity Activities Manager): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm9zd-ZqvFtaV83qPKMu8iw

 

Alex Codd Choreography: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgPCPqYTj5pfqMJVVRdHQkQ

 

Duo Destiny (ship’s aerial act, currently on America’s Got Talent 2!): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjZQneUlKSAsJvf1CjDp9Bw

 

A Note on Questions

One of the most enjoyable features of CC is answering questions for future cruisers. However, to add a wrinkle of unhelpfulness, I will endeavor to ask the least appropriate people I can find. Want to know if Sky Vodka is on the Premium Package? I’ll find one of the Celebrity Singers to pose that question to! Interested in Debarkation Times? Perhaps the Chief Engineer will have some insights. All kidding aside, I’ll do my best to respond for at least the first 3 days, after which the ‘LIVE’ part of this blog becomes increasingly inaccurate.

The Self-Indulgent Nature of this Blog

“But wait! Where are the pictures of food? Sunsets? That Café El Bacio Frappa-dappa-Chino-meano that everyone uses their macro-zoom on? All I see are pictures of your wife in funny hats…what gives?”

We continue to have our running debate about photographing meals. On one hand, we love to see pictures of plated meals, especially in Luminae. On the other hand, it feels…I don’t know…somehow a little weird to us to be photographing away instead of enjoying the dining experience.

 

And Here We Go, the luggage has been spotted and the cat is…angrily ignoring us.

 

2023406443_AngryCat.thumb.jpg.76502d91dce6958b57955865d60cc60e.jpg

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Happy you are back.  We are tuned in for another great adventure!

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Looking forward to following along and seeing the dinner attire on this trip!

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Following along.   We'll be on Summit in 24 days.     We'd love info on evening shows and things to do.    This will be our first time on Celebrity, after 5 straight on the RCL big ships.

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Looking forward to your posts and great pictures.  I met you two on SM in Luminae (I believe it was on a September cruise but am not sure of the month or even year for that matter...maybe 2 or 3 years ago).  Enjoy your cruise.  You are going to fall in love with the bartender, Alexandra, in the Retreat Lounge.  She is fantastic.  I’m curious to know who the Suite Manager is (Anastasia???) and also the Retreat concierges and Luminae Maitre’d.  Have fun!

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7 hours ago, helen haywood said:

Keep an eye on your cat.  You might have a stowaway!

 

I thought exactly the same...he looks like he is deciding which piece of luggage to sneak into...

 

OP, looking forward to enjoying your review.

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Looking forward to reading more. We have an 18 year old cat who is going strong and also hates it when we travel and she lets us know it for days after we return. She is a people cat and craves human attention so she feels so neglected when we leave. 

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We flew into San Juan yesterday afternoon. Took a taxi from the airport to Old San Juan for a set price of $28. We are staying at an apartment in the center of OSJ. Lovely morning. Temperature of 77 Fahrenheit at 9:30AM. We're enjoying a slow recovery from jetlag and expect to ramble around town this afternoon, winding up at a bar that has 10-ounce ice cold beers for $1. Looking forward to being aboard the Summit again. See you soon!

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Could you pay for taxi with credit card?  I'm trying to figure out how much cash I'll have to take on my trip in a couple of weeks.

Edited by dianedebuda

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4 minutes ago, dianedebuda said:

Could you pay for taxi with credit card? 

Sorry, I can't say for certain. We don't remember seeing a credit card machine in the taxi, but we didn't ask about it. I don't remember seeing a meter, either. The price was quoted by the woman at the taxi stand at the airport. She called for the taxi, which arrived just a couple of minutes later. The driver didn't speak English, so we didn't chat much. Maybe someone else has better information? 

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I just pulled up a seat and look forward to ready your blog.

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Just what I needed a live review.  I don't sail till April 24, and I am in definite cruise withdrawal.

Norma

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We will be on board with you, flight leaves at 6 am tomorrow! Looking forward to hearing about your trip! 

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Cruise Day -2: Travel Day

 

Welcome to day 1 of the Scroll-Throughs.

 

We were up and at 'em at 4:00am, which is only an hour earlier than we I get up for work so, coupled with the general excitement of not having to go to work for 1 1/2 weeks, I felt primed and ready to go.

 

Our first flight was out of Providence to Fort Lauderdale. TF Green airport, hilariously described as being "Providence" even though it is like 20 minutes outside the city (put it to you this way, imagine flying into Baltimore-Washington, getting out of the airport, and finding yourself in Chevy Chase (the town in Maryland, not the actor) is perhaps the best small airport in the Country and after passing through Security Theatre (for calming purposes we literally think of dealing with the TSA as attending an actual play - you need to show your tickets, remove your top hat and scarf,  have your props checked by the stage manager, you can't bring in any outside food and, if you're real lucky, you get to see the Stage Director for a one-on-one meet and greet!) XZ was downing the traditional entire Cup of Scotch because airport bartenders just love her.

 

The Fort Lauderdale Aiport isn't actually too shabby and our gates were exactly 23 feet apart, with a fake Mexican Bar in between which means, of course, Mezcal, and lots of it, after we ate our lunch. I have resolved since "the indicent" 2 years ago (the incident goes as follows; with a delayed flight in Miami we stopped at a grab n' go kiosk to pick up two sandwiches and 2 waters. The poor dude behind faux-counter sheepishly asks for $39 and even he knows that's total BS for $.87 worth of ingredients. Since then, it has been my ongoing mission to never, ever, ever spend any money in an airport for anything ever...XZ, of course, subverts this by buying me drinks, but one of our two key fundamentals to a happy marriage is spearate bank accounts so technically I have spent nothing) to bring all my own food and despite my home-made italian grinder (the sandwich, not the gay dating app) containing way more than 3 oz. of liquid it made it past the stage manager and was rather very enjoyable indeed.

 

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Our 2nd flight of the day was far more enjoyable as it wasn't full so we got to have an entire row to ourselves. This makes the the state of air travel, where cramped misery is the purposeful norm and 'upgrades' to what used to be standard are now to be expected, much more delightful.

 

The San Juan Airport is. Well. Put it like this. It isn't LaGuardia. La Guarida is the only airport I have been through which had foreign aid workers handing out supplies. Seriously, a Dutch Peacekeeper gave me a bag of doritoes and a bottled water the last time I was through there. So, compared to that, San Juan is paradise. OH! Here's a tip, Terminal A is, for some reason, almost entirely deserted which means unlimited, clean and uncrowded bathrooms as opposed to the bathrooms in Terminal B which sound like someone is performing a back-alley appendectimy in the stall next to you.

 

Baggage retrieval took less than a minute and we were quickly queued up, waiting for a taxi. Two drivers flatly told us they were not going anywhere near Old San Juan due to 'the Traffic' which was kind of odd until the 3rd Driver, a large and friendly fellow, explained that 'traffic' meant 'giant government protest' going right by the hotel. Luckily, this gentleman seemed to have no cares in the world (as demonstrated by the fact his van had no seatbelts and every dashboard dummy light imaginable lit up - tire pressure, oil, check engine, low gas, emergency brake...like everything. Christmas Trees in Tennesse had no chance against this umtil-colored panopoly of seasonal disaster/cheer) and we were soon bumping through angry crowds like a Land Rover driving through a herd of cattle, gently nudging people out of the way.

 

Luckily, Hotel El Convento is literally a fortified monestary and, once we were dropped off and checked in it which became apparent as we watched the Protest on Telemundo marching past the side of the building that it was not a night to, you know, leave the Hotel.

 

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So entertaiing as expected.

  First words to learn in Spanish  for taxi travel are  "pls  slow down" ...  por favor mas despacio   and "Stop Here!"...para aqui por favor!

( sorry no idea where accent marks are on my phone)

Edited by hcat

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Misty Knight - Day 2

Thankfully I did not have to travel anywhere. The sun is shining and I can watch the birds have fun. There are no protesters here. The temporary food giver has fed me wet food and snacks. I greeted her with the customary “try to trip you by serpentining between your legs” hello. I will now lay in the sun, meow at birds, play with my toys, and search for the catnip while trying not to miss the permanent food givers too much. 

BE5F8BA3-A815-4855-AF9A-27C5E99639A5.jpeg

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